For 99% of users, the Abridged Depositor Database will be all you need. The unabridged version is really only useful if you want to know the names of depositors’ siblings and where those siblings lived, or who the trustees were on accounts set up in trust for others. If you want all that information, don’t mind 5,000,000 cells of data, and don’t mind if your computer groans every time you open the workbook, then go ahead and use this version.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you use the data. First, our original goal was to search for additional information (beyond that contained in the bank records) for all 15,800 depositors. Available time and resources, however, led us to focus primarily on the Irish immigrants. These same constraints permitted us to search for information beyond the Emigrant Savings Bank records for only about half of the 11,000 Irish-born customers who opened accounts from 1850 to 1858. Of those 5,500 we searched for, we were able to find some census information for about 4,000 of them, and census records from 1860 or later for 2,850 of these Irish immigrants. Through other means—primarily EISB records—we were able to determine occupations in 1860 or later for another 550 Irish-born depositors, meaning that we know the occupation in 1860 or later of 3,400 of the 5,500 we attempted to find. We can document the occupations of 1,500 of these EISB customers from the 1850s in 1870 or later. In contrast, we have only found census information for about 900 of the 4,500 non-Irish-born depositors. We transcribed all this information into our databases. Scans of these documents for about 400 representative depositors can be found in our curated document sets.
Second, we also devoted hundreds of hours of work to researching the depositors’ places of birth. We did so because the bank secretaries who recorded this information usually did not know how to spell the parish and townland names their customer dictated to them. Our research team made the spelling of place names consistent (using an 1861 guide to Irish place names), and coded the names of civil parishes in which their birthplaces were located so they can be easily tracked our used for GIS mapping.
Third, our team also recorded deposit, withdrawal, and balance information for all depositors. The database lists the amount of the first deposit, the highest balance attained (and the date it was achieved), and the amount on deposit either when the account was closed or the bank switched to new (and now missing) deposit ledgers in 1869. Sometimes members of the same household had multiple accounts. Consequently, we recorded the first deposit, highest balance, and last withdrawal for the entire household, not each household member. So if Patrick Kelly had an account whose balance peaked at $100 on January 1, 1860, and his wife Bridget had her own account that peaked at the same balance on the same date, each of them is recorded in our database as having a peak household balance of $200.
Finally, there are undoubtedly mistakes in the data. We have spent several years searching for and correcting mistakes, but many undoubtedly remain. Even if 99.9% of all cells are filled in accurately, that would leave 1,000 with errors. So if you find errors, please being them to our attention at the e-mail address on the Contact Us page. Also, if you find information we are missing, we’d be delighted if you would share it with us so we can expand the database and make it even better. We will correct and update the data regularly.